“This was an abhorrent breach of trust"
An NHS healthcare assistant stole the bank card of a dead Covid-19 patient to buy herself crisps and fizzy drinks.
Twenty-three-year-old Ayesha Basharat worked on a Covid-19 ward in Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital.
The Covid-19 victim, an 83-year-old woman, died at 1:56 pm on January 24, 2021.
Just 17 minutes after her death, Basharat used the dead woman’s contactless card at least six times.
She purchased food and drinks from one of the hospital’s vending machines.
Basharat tried to use the card again when she returned to work for her next shift on January 28, 2021. However, the card was cancelled.
Police arrested her while on shift at Heartlands Hospital, and she still had the victim’s card in her possession.
On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Ayesha Basharat admitted to theft and fraud by false representation at Birmingham Crown Court.
Basharat initially told the police that she found the card on the floor, and “muddled up” the card with her own when paying.
However, the two cards were different colours, and the court also heard how she ignored hospital protocol surrounding patient lost property.
Speaking of Basharat’s case, investigating officer DC Andrew Snowdon said:
“This was an abhorrent breach of trust and distressing for the victim’s family.
“They were having to come to terms with the death of a loved one from Covid when they found the bank card missing – and then of course the realisation that the card was taken by someone who should have been caring for her.
“Our Hospital Liaison Officer worked closely with Heartlands security team to gather evidence in this case.
“I’d like to thank them and the victim’s family for their support during the investigation.
“I wish the family all the best for the future and with this conviction hope they can move on from this upsetting episode.”
The court sentenced Ayesha Basharat to two five-month jail terms to run concurrently, both suspended for 18 months.
Twitter users also reacted angrily to Basharat’s transgression.
One user said:
“How heartless can one get when someone has died of Covid.”
Another wrote: “Wow, that’s low!”
A third said: “She gets a suspended sentence, says it all about our system and she said she thought she was using her card.”
However, some missed the point of Ayesha Basharat’s lack of trust, saying she would not have needed to steal a dead patient’s bank card if she earned a sufficient wage.
One Twitter user replied: “Blame the government, they gave her a clap instead of a pay rise.”